Title: PsyCop #6.1 In The Dark
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Cover Artist: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: short novelette/26 PDF pages/8K words
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Review Summary: Another short gem in the PsyCop series.
Halloween is fun…at least, it’s supposed to be. Costumes, candy, trick-or-treat, even jaded Victor Bayne can get behind those sorts of antics. Too bad this year’s Halloween is a grownup event. Not only must Vic don a suit and endure a disco-obsessed DJ, he has to mingle with friends of Jacob’s he would much rather ignore.
Vic thinks he has the party’s host all figured out–but as he so often realizes, once he looks beneath the surface, things are seldom what they seem.
(In the Dark is a companion piece to Stroke of Midnight, the New Year’s short. It contains series spoilers through GhosTV.)
It takes a special skill to do what Jordan Castillo Price does – she writes short stories that are part of an existing series and makes them impactful without disturbing the overall threads of the series or giving away any spoilers for future books. What she does is explore other aspects of the characters without changing the relationships, while at the same time providing a different “look” at the MCs, their motivations and their feelings.
Having read most, if not all of the short stories in the PsyCop series, I wondered where In The Dark would fit in. I’m always surprised at how effective this author’s technique is in these shorts, the new directions in which she takes the protagonists, the little nuggets of personal information she reveals about them, as well as the previously unexplored layers of their personalities. She did this effectively in Thaw, a rare date night with Victor and Jacob which was similar to this evening’s outing, except there were no dead bodies then, just the guys out dancing and having fun together.
In In The Dark Jacob and Victor are at a Halloween party thrown by one of Jacob’s exes, much to Vic’s dismay as he would have chosen any number of other ways to spend the occasion; the only reason he was there was because Jacob wanted to go. The story is told from Vic’s POV and we’re in his head as he thinks about all sorts of things (food, his hatred of disco music, clothes), all of which seem unconnected or unrelated until I realized he always came back to Jacob and how much he loves him, although he hates that Jacob only gives him information about his former lovers on a need to know basis, a very sore point. He ruminates about the way Jacob is always vague when it suits him, a trait that leaves him (Victor) vulnerable when he meets someone new and recognizes his place in Jacob’s life later. He’s annoyed that Jacob left him to his own devices at the party, leaving the door open for other people to talk to him, something he hates because he feels socially inept. These little nuggets of Vic’s and Jacob’s personality are rarely shared in the series, which is why the shorts are so important to any PsyCop fans.
A ghostly encounter gave Vic something to do at the party and helped ground him, as this was something familiar that he could handle, and while he was trying to send the ghost home where she belonged Jacob showed up to give him moral support as if he knew that Vic needed him.
Jordan Castillo price is an incredible writer who can convey a lot with very few words, revealing tidbits of new information and complexities about her protagonists.
Another great character study and adventure in Jacob’s and Victor’s PsyCop world, which is why I’m addicted to this series.